Formosan wild boar
Scientific Name:Sus scrfa talvanus

Category:Animalia> Vertebrata > Mammalia > Artiodactyla > Suldae > Sus > Sus scrofa

The Taiwan wild boar is native to Taiwan. It is a unique subspecies that has adapted to live in the coastal plains of Taiwan and in the mountains 3,000 meters above sea level.

In the Formosan Animal Area of the Taipei Zoo, you can explore the origin and distribution of the Taiwan (Formosan) wild boar. You can also learn about physiological and social aspects of wild boar behavior, reproduction and parental care, and the crisis currently being faced by this animal.

We also introduce Taiwanese aboriginal hunting culture and its many facets. We look at the wisdom of the mountain forests, hunting knowledge and skills, the passage of ancestral teachings from generation to generation, and the inherent power of ecological balance, as demonstrated by traditional hunting norms.

Physiological Structure


The Taiwan wild boar’s eyes are similar to those of humans, in terms of both visual ability and structure (e.g. the proportion of photoreceptor cells in the eyeball). Wild boars also have a field of view that can cover 180 degrees.

Physiological Structure


The boar’s hearing is acute, with a frequency range similar to that of humans. When pigs are nervous or alert, their sense of hearing can be used like a radar to identify sources of sound and track the movements around them.

Physiological Structure


The wild boar has a specialized nasal bone and a flat-paneled snout, which is often used close to the ground. Boars have an excellent sense of smell and can detect food more than one meter underground.
Physiological Structure


Adult boars have 44 teeth, more than most other wild mammals in Taiwan. Both male and female Taiwan wild boars have tusks, a specialized pair of canines that can be used to fight with enemies.

Physiological Structure


Wild boars are non-ruminate animals, meaning they do not chew cud. Like humans, boars have only one stomach. This stomach cannot digest high-fiber foods, so the boars must eat meat or tender plants.
Physiological Structure


Tail. The wild boar’s tail can be twitched or lifted to express excitement or intimidation, or as part of courtship.

Physiological Structure

Sweat Gland

Lack of sweat glands. Because they lack sweat glands, adult boars are sensitive to outdoor heat. In the summer, boars like to spend time near cool ponds. They also take mud baths in order to lower their body temperature, remove parasites, and prevent infection of wounds caused by fighting.
Physiological Structure


Purebred Taiwan wild boars have 1-2 piglets the first time they give birth. In subsequent births, they gradually bear more young (from 2-6 piglets). The actual number of piglets in later births is usually limited by the number of nipples on the female, and is normally 4-5.

Physiological Structure

Pig Nest

A ‘pig nest‘ refers to a structure constructed by Taiwan wild boars that is laid with soft grasses and is used to raise young boars. In the rainy or typhoon seasons, sows will build pig nests to protect their young from the cold.
The structure of the wild boar nest is tight and complex. It is usually covered with multiple layers of nesting material. It is oval-shaped, with exits in the front or back. The nest is only for the sow and the piglets.
The main materials are grasses, such as Miscanthus floridulus (Pacific Island silvergrass), Alpinia zerumbet (shell ginger), and ferns.

Survival Crisis


The Taiwan wild boar eats a wide range of foods. Its preferred hilly terrain overlaps with areas used for human activities, particularly agriculture. Farmers in Taiwan have introduced a number of measures to control boars, often to the detriment of these animals.
Survival Crisis


In 1972, Taiwan – recognizing the importance of this wild, native species – issued a comprehensive ban on hunting. In 1989, the Wildlife Conservation Law was implemented to protect the survival rights of wild animals. Such laws have been passed in a number of other countries. Due to strong law enforcement and public awareness, many wild animal populations have gradually increased in Taiwan. However, Taiwan wild boars are not listed as a threatened species, and they are still endangered due to agricultural development.

Survival Crisis

Genetic Contamination

The Taiwan wild boar confronts a problem of genetic introgression caused by crossbreeding with domestic pigs. (Introgression is the transfer of genetic material from one species to another as a result of hybridization between them.) Domestic pigs have not only “infiltrated” in this respect, reducing biodiversity; they have also infiltrated the wild boar’s original ecosystem and caused harm.
Survival Crisis

Hunting Culture

Heroes are not just famous.

Most of the aboriginal people in Taiwan hunt wild boars, and this activity is seen as heroic. Hunters need to have ecological knowledge and survival skills. Hunting ethics and forest knowledge are a part of aboriginal education. Aboriginal people maintain ecological balance along with ancestral teachings passed down from generation to generation.

Hunting Culture

Evolution of Hunting tools

Hunters are adept at developing diverse hunting methods and tools. Examples include using dogs to help catch prey and catching wild boars with traditional rope traps. In 2003, aboriginal people received permission to use guns for boar hunting. In 2011, a ban on gin traps was added to the Animal Protection Act.
Hunting Culture

Symbols of glory

Hunting is a symbol of glory
Because male wild boars are difficult to hunt, aboriginal people will allow the boars to linger in front of their houses, as a symbol that deters enemies from invading. They also use the boar’s teeth to decorate headgear and necklaces, symbolizing tribal glory.
Hunting Culture

Sharing and maintaining social relations

Traditional aboriginal hunters share wild boar meat with their relatives, which helps maintain social relationships. The hunter’s achievements are recognized through sharing rituals that show respect for elders, neighbors, and relatives. Pork is also given as a gift for social purposes and shared across tribes.

Hunting Culture


Hunting Culture adheres to taboos and follows the rules of natural survival. Hunters must:

1. Capture their prey with one strike.
2. Stop hunting after catching a certain number of prey.
3. Strictly guard the hunting area to allow animals to recover.
4. Not enter the hunting grounds of others.
5. Keep a humble heart in the forest.
6. Be grateful to the animals they have killed or captured.
7. Not kill pregnant mothers or young animals.

Hunting Culture

Hunting Culture

Today’s society has deep misunderstandings about the hunting practices of aboriginal people – these practices are often seen as uncivilized behaviors. In fact, hunters from aboriginal cultures bear responsibility for conserving wild animals and patrolling the mountains. These are important roles that lead to sustainable development of ecological resources.

Hunting Culture